SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
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The following letter (to which I have before alluded) will throw some additional light upon this part of our subject. It will be seen that he was pushed forward against his own will and better judgement, while he candidly admits that the colonists had no cause of complaint against the government. Some precious confessions, indeed, are here recorded, which cannot fail to make the most forcible impressions on the mind of the reader.
The following letter from Col. Stephen F. Austin, was written immediately after his arrest by the Mexican Government, and is published in our latest Texas papers. We re-publish it as interesting to those who are seeking information of that fertile and promising region, its government and politics. N. O. Bulletin.
MONTERREY, Jan. 17, 1834. To the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin. I have been arrested by an order from the minister of war, and leave soon for Mexico to answer to a charge made against me, as I understand, for writing an officio to the Ayuntamiento of Texas, dated 21st October last, advising, or rather recommending that they should consult amongst themselves for the purpose of organizing a local government for Texas, in the event that no remedies could be obtained for the evils that threatened that country with ruin. I do not in any manner blame the Government for arresting me, and I particularly request that there may be no excitement about it. I give advice to the people there, that I have always given, keep quiet, discountenance all revolutionary measures or men obey the State authorities and laws so long as you are attached to Coahuila, have no more conventions, petition through the legal channels, that is through the Ayuntamiento and chief of department, harmonize fully with the people of Bexar and Goliad, and act with them. The general government are disposed to do every thing for Texas that can be done to promote its prosperity and welfare that is consistent with the constitution and laws, and I have no doubt the state government will do the same if they are applied to in a proper manner. It will be remembered that I went to Mexico as a public agent with specific instructions and as such it was my duty to be governed by them and by the general wish f the people as expressed to me. [This "general wish" was not expressed to the great mass of the actual settlers in the colonies. No measures, were adopted to ascertain the "general" wishes of the people. The sentiments thus expressed, were the clamors of the land-speculators and aspirants for power and office, and the urgent demands of lordly slaveholders, both resident and transient, among them. The more sober and orderly inhabitants were very generally opposed to it]
Also, that when I left in April, the general wish did express itself for the separation from Coahuila and the forming of Texas into a State of this confederation. Also, that there was a determination to organize a local government at all hazards, if no remedy could be obtained. I have in all my acts conformed to this public wish of the people, so far as I was informed of it; and when I despaired of obtaining any remedy, as I did in the beginning of October, I deemed it to be my duty as an agent, to inform the people so; and believing as I did, that they would organize, I also considered that it would be much better to do so, by a harmonious consultation of the Ayuntamientos, than by a popular commotion. There were many reasons for the recommendation given in that officio; also, the result of the civil war was thought to he doubtful.
I understand and I rejoice to hear it, that public opinion has settled down on a more reasonable basis, and that the most of the Ayuntamientos of Texas have expressed their wish to proceed in a legal manner to seek redress. I ought to have been informed of this change, but I was not, and knew nothing of it to a certainty, until the 5th of November, so that up to that time I acted under the impressions I had when I left Texas in April. Since then I have not moved the state question. The past events in Texas necessarily grew out of the revolution of Jalapa, which overturned the constitution and produced the counter revolution of Vera Cruz, which extended over the whole country, and involved Texas with the rest. It is well known that it was my wish to keep Texas, and particularly the colony, out of all revolution, and I tried to do so, but the flame broke out in my absence from Texas, in June 1832 , and since then all has been completely disjointed. A current was set in motion by the general extents of the civil war all over the nation, and under the circumstances, Texas could not avoid being agitated by it. No one can be blamed in any manner for what has happened since June 1832, in Texas---it was inevitable---neither was it possible for me to avoid being drawn into the whirlpool. It was my duty to serve the country as an agent if requested to do so; and as an agent it was my duty to obey my instructions as expressed to me. I have long since informed the Ayuntamiento of Texas, of the repeal of the law of April, and of the favorable and friendly disposition of the government, and by this, I of course rescinded, or annulled the recommendation of 2d October, for that was predicated on the belief that nothing would be done, and that the result of the civil war then pending was doubtful; since then all has changed for the better, and public opinion in Texas has become sound, and shaken of the excitement that necessarily grew out of the past agitation. ["Public opinion in Texas has become sound !"-The actual settlers had then more generally expressed their wishes;" and the rebellious slaveites and marauders had found that they had pushed ahead too soon. The writer himself was in a delicate and difficult situation, and a little prudent policy must be used to extricate him. His conduct eventually proved how sincere were his own professions of attachment to Mexico.]
Under these circumstances the prospects of Texas are better than they ever have been. The national revolution is ended, a constitutional government exists, the people are obedient to the government and laws every where. Be the same in Texas, and have no more excitements, tolerate no more violent measures, and you will prosper and obtain from the government, all that reasonable men ought to ask for. The last year has been one of calamities for Texas-floods, pestilence, and commotions; I hope the, present year will be more favorable. I request that you will have this letter published for general information, and also the enclosed copy of the answer given to me by his Excellency the minister of relations. You will see by this answer the very favorable and friendly disposition of the general government to make a state or a territory of Texas, and do every thing else within its constitutional powers for the good of that country. I consider my agency for Texas as terminated, but this wi1l not prevent me from doing all I can for the good of that country, on my own individual responsibility. Respectfully your most ob't servt. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN.
On the 10th of May, 1834, he also wrote as follows, from the place of his confinement at the seat of government. He does not admit that he had entertained the design of transferring the country to the government of the United States. No one will suspect that he had indulged a wish of that kind. It was his desire to be at the head of political affairs in Texas; and were it attached to the U. S. he would soon witness a rivalry that most eventually blast his hopes. But many others concerned in Texas politics did contemplate the transfer in question; and, even according to Austin's confessions, the better disposed part of the inhabitants, himself included, were dictated to, and ruled, by the land-speculating and slave-trafficking banditti, who had more convenient opportunities to concentrate their efforts. The letter from which the following is extracted, was directed to a gentleman in New Orleans---
"I have been in close and solitary confinement here until yesterday, since the 13th February. Yesterday I was allowed to communicate with persons outside, receive books, writing materials, visits, &c. I expect to be at liberty in a short time, and shall probably return by way of Orleans. My confinement very rigid, but I have received no personal ill treatment. Tho good people of the Colony precipitated me into these difficulties, by their excitements. I came here as the agent of excited and fevered constituents and I represented them regardless of my personal safety or welfare. I was much more impatient and of course imprudent than cold calculating prudence would sanction, but not more so than the tone and temper of my constituents required when I left them. I do not blame the Vice President or Government for arresting me---an attempt has been made to charge me with designs to separate Texas from Mexico and deliver it to the U. States of the North---that is totally false and without the shadow of foundation, all are now convinced; so that I have no doubt I shall soon leave this place."
In order to make the reader more familiar with the proceedings of those concerned in this splendid project, in various parts of America, I will now present a succinct, though comprehensive view of their combined operations. Many individuals in other countries have a hand in it;-yet its active promoters are principally citizens of the United States. The Republic of Mexico, from the period of its organization, evinced the utmost liberality towards foreigners in granting permission to colonize its vacant lands, until that liberality, and the a confidence reposed in their friendly disposition, were grossly abused, particularly by those who proceeded from our own country. Of the immense tracts of land designated for colonization, in the various contracts entered into with the different "Empresarios," those granted to Zavala, Vehlein, and Burnet were united and transferred to a company in New York, called the "Galvezton Bay and Texas Land Company." This Association was fully orgainzied on the 16th of October 1830. The followng named persons were appointed as Directors, viz: Lynde Catlin, Wm. G. Bucknor, George Griswold, barney Corse, John Hagerty, Dudley Seldon, and Stephen Whitney. The following were also chosen as trustees, viz: Anthony Day, George Curtis, Win. H. Sumner. It is believed, however, that some of these subsequently declined acting, and others were appointed in their places.-The contract entered into by the Government with Zavala, was concluded on the 12th of March, 1829; with Vehlein 21st December, 1826, and a second on the 11th October, 1828; with Burnet, 22d December, 1826. The grants to Dominguez, and Wilson & Exter, were in like manner conveyed to Elisha Tibbets, John S. Crary, Henry Hone and their associates, under the title of the "Arkansas and Texas Land Company," by whom Thomas Ludlow Ogden, Daniel Jackson, and Edward Curtie, were appointed Trustees to hold the same, &c.-Another company was organized at Nashville, Tennessee, and the grants made to Ross and Leftwitch were transferred it upon the same principle-- A third company was likewise formed in New York, at a subsequent date, entitled the "Rio Grand Company," (I believe,) which agreed to colonize the tracts obtained by Grant & Beales, and Soto & Egerton, as well as others. These several companies created , at "stocks" upon the basis of those "grants and threw them into the market. They also issued "scrip," authorizing the holder of it to take possession of certain tracts of land, within the lines marked out on the map as the boundaries of their respective grants. This "scrip" embraced tracts of various dimensions, and was sold to any who could be induced to purchase, at such prices as could be obtained. To a bona fide settler, (and none else could obtain the land it pretended to convey,) it could be of no advantage whatever, as the facilities and for procuring his tract, according to law, would be the same, whether he held the scrip or not. Every cent paid for it, therefore, was so much loss to the settler, and gain to the company, although these companies could only hold their grants through the medium of the Empresarios, for the limited period of a six years, and on the express condition of settling a specified number of families, they dealt largely in their "stock," and sold immense quantities of "scrip," insomuch that an immense amount of money has no doubt been realized by them while very few settlers (in many of the grants none) have been introduced. By obtaining from the government an extension of the time stipulated for the fulfillment of contracts made with the Empresarios, they have been enabled to continue and increase their operations upon a grand scale. Thousands in various parts of the United States have purchased the scrip issued by them, and are interested, of course, in the adoption of measures to legalize their claims. This can never be done, however, while the laws are in force, under which the colonization privileges were obtained. When these companies were first organized, some honorable men engaged in their speculations, that were, doubtless, actuated by honest motives: but many have since joined in the scheme, who are reckless of all principle except that of money-making. The "scrip" being transferable, a large portion of it has fallen into the hands of needy adventurers, who likewise are willing to encourage any measures that may seem calculated to promote their immediate pecuniary interests.
To show more clearly how utterly at variance were these measures with the regulations adopted by the government for the settlement of the country, I here copy the Law enacted by the State Legislature, prescribing the terms upon which foreigners were permitted to colonize the vacant lands in Texas.---I believe this law has never before been published, at length, in the United States at least I have not hitherto seen a translation of it in print. A reference to it will be useful, as well to elucidate the liberal views and propositions of the government, as to exhibit the dishonest practices of slaveholders and land-jobbers, who have parceled out the territory among themselves and their associate country, it is nearly the same as the ne originally promulgated-being merey a revision of the statute, with a few adventurers. Although the law, here quoted, is not the first that was enacted encourage the colonization of the Texas trifling alterations in details, without changing its general features or principles.
[This law of 1832 superceded the original Colonization Law of 1825--WLM]
COLONIZATION LAW OF COAHUILA & TEXAS
Supreme Government of the State of Coahuila & Texas. The Governor of the State of Coahuila & Texas to all the inhabitants-health. The Congress of the said State has passed the following Decree. [DECREE No. 190.] The Constitutional Congress of the free, independent, and sovereign State of Coahuila & Texas, decrees as follows:
ARTICLE I.- Those Mexicans who, at the period of the publication of this law, shall determine to settle any of the vacant land belonging to the State, are hereby offered asylum and protection.
ART. 2-Any Mexican, or Mexicans, who shall propose to introduce, at his or their own expense, Ninety Families, at least, shall present themselves to the Government, and enter into contract, in conformity with this law; and the territory, in which they are to establish themselves, shall be pointed out which contract shall be fulfilled within four years. Those who do not establish the said number of families shall forfeit the rights and privileges hereby granted.
ART. 3-So soon as Thirty Families shall be collected, they shall proceed to the formal establishment of new Towns, in the most convenient places in the opinion of the Government, or of the person commissioned by it, for that purpose; and for each new Town, four square Leagues of land shall be designated, the figure of which may be regular, or irregular, according to its location.
ART. 4.-If any site where a new Town shall be formed belong to an individual, and the establishment may be of known and general utility, it shall still be formed---observing the regulations of the Constitution, in the fourth restriction of Article 13.
ART. 5-The Government, in consideration of the agreement which any contractor, or contractors, shall enter into, and for the better location and formation of the new towns, and the exact division of soil and water, shall commission a confidential person, who shall be of Mexican origin, and not enjoy foreign privileges, who shall proceed according to the instructions of the 4th of September, 1827, when not in opposition to this law.
ART. 6 .-In Towns which admit of waterworks, they will be constructed for account of those concerned. The Commissioner will divide the water off in pipes, or conduits, endeavoring to make them, at least, half a yard wide; one of which shall be for the use of the Town, and the others for irrigating the fields.
ART. 7-The contractor and new settlers, in the division and location of land and water, shall be at no other expense than the pay of the commissioner and surveyor, according to law.
ART. 8-To each Family, included in the contract, referred to in Art. 2, shall be given one day of water, and one Labor of land, [177 acres] or two if the land is temporal, [cannot be irrigated] and a Town lot of 70 yards spare, on which they shall build a house, within two years, under pain of forfeiture of their privilege. Should they possess over one hundred head of stock-either of cattle or horses-or six hundred head of small stock, they shall be entitled to a Sitio (4428 acres] of pasture land.
ART. 9--A square of land, which on each side measures one League, of 5000 Varas or, what is the same, an area or superficies of 25,000,000 square varas-shall he called a Sitio; and this shall b a the unit for counting one, two, or more Sitios;-as, likewise, the unit for counting one, two, or more Labors, shall be one million Squire Varas, or one thousand varas on each side, which shall constitute a Labor. The vara, for these admeasurements, shall consist of three geometrical feet.
ART. 10-This Law concedes to the contractors, for each Ninety Families which shall be established in the new settlements, four Sitios of grazing land, and three days of water in each supply that can be used for cultivation of the settlement. But they can take only that proportion for nine hundred families, though a greater number should be established-nor shall they have the right to any premium for any fraction, not reaching to ninety.
ART. 11.-No Commissioner, nor any other authority, can give to the same person a second Lot, unless he shall have built upon the first.
ART. 12-The contractor who, on account of the Families he shall establish, shall acquire, according to Art. 10, more than Eleven Sitios, must dispose of the excess within nine years. And if he does not do so, the respective civil authorities shall put it up at public auction, and pay over to the owner the net proceeds, deducting the expenses of the sale.
ART. 13-The Government can sell, to Mexicans, such lands as they wish, with the proviso, that no single person obtain more than eleven Sitios, and under the express condition that the purchaser have introduced into the said lands by the fourth year of his purchase at least Thirty head of large, and two hundred head of small cattle for each sitio. The purchaser shall pay into the treasury of each state, or wherever the Government shall direct, at the time of sale, the fourth part of the land sold; and the three remaining parts shall be paid the second, third, and fourth years, respectively, under penalty of forfeiting his right to any part, and losing the whole by his failure to comply with this arrangement.
ART. 14-The price of each Sitio, within ten leagues in a straight line from the shores of the gulf of Mexico, shall be Two Hundred Dollars, if it be of grazing land, and Three Hundred, if of temporal. In the rest of the Department of Bejar, the value shall be One hunded Dollars, if it be of grazing land, and one hundred and Fifty, if of temporal. And in the other commons of the State, the value shall be fifteen Dollars, for grazing land, and Twenty, for temporal.
ART. 15-The Government will sell to Mexicans, alone, the land which, by its local situation, will admit of irrigation, and shall not be marked out for settlements, at Three Hundred Dollars each Sitio, in the Department of Bejar, and in other parts of the State at Two Hundred Dollars,-according to the terms in Art. 13, on the express condition, that by the fourth year from from the purchase, the purchaser shall have, the eighth part of the land under cultivation-observing the same rule with respect to the temporal lands as mentioned in the foregoing article.
ART. 16. There shall be no variation in regard to the contracts which the Government shall have entered into, nor in the grants which it shall have made to purchasers or settlers, in virtue of the Decree, No. 16 of 24 March, 1825; but care shall be taken that those who shall have purchased, within eighteen months after the publication of this law, enter into possession of the lands granted to them.
Upon those of the former class, who shall hereafter make new contracts, or shall hold new grants in the way of purchase, (i.e. in virtue of the Decree No. 16, of the 24, March 1825) it shall be obligatory to make, within eighteen months from the execution of the contract, settlements on their lands of one-sixth part of the families stipulated int their said contracts; and those of the second class (to wit, those who shall have purchased within eighteen months after the publication of this law) shall, within the period specified in their contracts, actually enter into possession of the lands, under the penalty of forfeiting them by not observing his regulation.
ART. 18-The Families which shall, at their own expense, remove to any of the new settlements, and wish to establish themselves in any of them, can do so at any time; and shall therefore be entitled to the benefits warranted by this law to new settlers; for which purpose they shall present themselves to the Commissioner or, in his absence, to the respective civil authority, in order that, by making themselves known to the Government, they may receive their grants in due form.
ART. 19.-No new settler, whether Mexican or Foreigner shall sell, or alienate in any manner, or under any pretext, the water or land in his possession, until after having entered upon and possessed the same during six year. r
ART. 20.-A Mexican or a Foreigner, who shall undertake to colonize with foreign families, whose introduction is not prohibited by a the general law, of 6th April, 1830, shall be entitled to the benefits conceded in Art. 10, of this law.
ART. 21-The division of the land and water to foreign families, as set forth in Articles 18 and 20, shall be made in Conformity to Art. 8, provided the conditions required by this law are complied with-they paying to the State one third less price than is set forth in Art. 14, in the following terms: One-half of the value in two years from taking possession and the balance in six years.
ART. 22.-To such families as are referred to in the preceding article, shall be given half a Sitio of grazing land, provided they possess the number of large and small cattle, required in the second part of Article 8.
ART. 23-The Ayuntamientos of each municipality shall collect the above mentioned funds agreed by means of a Committee, appointed either within or without their body- and shall remit them, as they are collected to the Treasurer of their funds, who will give the corresponding receipt, and without any other compensation than two and an half per cent which is all that shall be allowed him; he, shall hold them at the disposition of the Government, rendering an account, every month, of the ingress or egress, and of any remissness or fraud which he may observe in their collection; for the correct management of all which, the person employed, and the committee, and the individuals of the Ayuntamientos who appoint them, shall be individually responsible, that this responsibility may be at all times effectual, the said appointments shall be made viva voce, and information shall be given thereof immediately to the Government.
ART. 24-Foreigners, in order to be admitted as new settlers, must competently prove, before the Commissioner, and on his responsibility, their good morals, belief in Christianity, and good conduct. These indispensable prerequisites are to be set forth in the Book Becerro, mentioned in Article 9, of the instructions of 4th September, 1827.
ART. 25.-The Government will take care that, in the Twenty Leagues, bordering on the United States of America, and Ten Leagues in a straight line from the coast of the gulf of Mexico, in the bounds of the State, no establishment shall be made which shall not consist of two-thirds of Mexicans, obtaining, by anticipation, the approbation of the Supreme Government of the Union; to which effect information shall be sent of all proceedings which shall be made in the matter, whether the undertakers be Mexicans or Foreigners.
ART. 26.-In the distribution of lands, native Mexicans shall be preferred to foreigners; and no other distinction shall be made between the former, except what is based upon their particular merit and their services done to the country or other circumstances being equal, their nearness to the place where the lands are situated.
ART. 27-The Indians, of all nations, bordering upon the State, as well as the wandering tribes within it, shall be received in the markets without exacting from them any commercial duties upon their trade in articles of the country. And, if thus drawn, by the gentleness and confidence with which they shall also be treated, they shall, declaring themselves first in favor of our religion and institutions, establish themselves in any part of the settlements which shall be formed, they shall be admitted, and allowed the same terms as other settlers, treated of in this law, distinguishing the natives as Mexicans, and the borderers as foreigners, without exacting from the first any number of cattle.
ART. 28-In order that there may be no o vacancies, between tracts, of which great care shall be taken in the distribution of lands, they shall be laid off in squares, or other forms although irregular, if the local situation requires it; and in said distribution, as well as in the assignation of lands for new or Towns, previous notice shall be given to the adjoining proprietors, (if any) in order to prevent dissentions and law-suits.
ART. 29-The quantity of vacant land which has to be laid out upon the banks of a river, rivulet, stream, or lake, shall not, if practicable, exceed a fourth part of the whole depth of the tract granted.
ART. 30-If, by error in the grant, any e land shall be conceded, belonging to another individual, on proof being made of that fact, an equal quantity shall be granted, elsewhere, to the person who may have thus obtained it through mistake; and he shall be indemnified, by the owner of such land, for any improvements which he shall have made thereon; the just value of which improvements shall be ascertained by appraisers.
ART. 31.---By Will, regulated according to existing laws, or such as may hereafter exist, every new settler, from the day of his establishment, can dispose of his lands, although they shall not be cultivated: and if he shall die intestate, he shall be succeeded in his lands, by the heirs at law of all his property and rights--in either case, the inheritor performing the conditions and obligations of the principal.
ART. 32-The lands acquired, by virtue of this law, shall, in no case, fall into mortmain and those purchasers, who have obtained a title to any, shall not be at liberty to dispose of them, without first having complied with the requisitions of this law'.
ART. 33-A new settler who, in order to establish himself in a foreign country, determines to leave the territory of the State, may do so, freely, with all his property; but when once withdrawn, shall no longer hold his lands. And if he shall not before have disposed of them, or if the disposition be not in conformity to Art. 19, they shall remain vacated entirely.
ART. 34-The Government, in agreement with the ordinary ecclesiastics, will be careful to provide an adequate number of Pastors for the new settlements; and in concurrence with the same authority, shall propose to the Legislature, for its approbation, the salaries which the said Pastors ought to receive, which are to be paid by the new settlers.
ART. 35.-Tbe new settlers, in regard to the introduction of Slaves, shall be subject to laws which now exist, and which shall hereafter be made on the subject.
ART. 36. The servants and laborers which, in future, foreign colonists shall introduce shall not, by force of any contract whatever, remain bound to their service a longer space of time than ten years.
ART. 37. The commissioner, or commissioners, which shall be appointed in conformity with this law, shall not be suspended in their functions by any other authority than that of the Government. The Judges, within their own jurisdictions respectively, shall inform of any bad management that may be known.
ART. 38. The Decree of 24th March, 1825, No. 16, is abrogated. The Governor of the State will understand that this law be complied with and he will print, publish, and circulate it. Given in the City of Leona Vicario, 28th April, 1832. JOSE JESUS GRANDE, President. For MANUEL MUSQUIZ, Secretary. CESARIO FIGUERO, Sec. Pro. Tem. Whereupon, I command that it be printed, published, and circulated; and that it be complied with. JOSE MARIA DE LETONA, SANTIAGO DEL VALLE, Secretary. Leona Vicario, May 2d, 1832.
The land-speculations, aforesaid, have extended to most of the cities and villages of the United States, the British colonies in America, and the settlements of foreigners in all the eastern parts of Mexico. All concerned in them are aware that a change in the government of the country must take place, if their claims shall ever be legalized. The advocate of slavery, in our southern states and elsewhere, want more land on this continent suitable for the culture of sugar and cotton; and if Texas, with the adjoining portions of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Santa Fe, east of the Rio Bravo del Norte, can be wrested from the Mexican government, room will be afforded for the redundant slave population in the United States, even to a remote period of time. The following may be taken as a fair estimate of the dimensions of this extensive region, in square miles, and in English acres. It is calculated from the boundaries of the different departments, as marked in Tanner's Map of Mexico, revised in 1834:
Texas (proper), 165,000--104,560,000; Tamaulipas east of Rio Bravo 13,000--8,960,000; Coahuila, 7,000--4,480,000; Chihuahua 9,000--5,760,000; Santa Fe, 107,000--68,480,000; Total 301,000 192,240,000
The breeders of slaves, in those parts of he United States where slave labor has become unprofitable---and also the traffickers in human flesh, whether American or foreign, desire an extended market, which Texas would afford if revolutionized, and governed as well as inhabited by those who are in favor of re-establishing the system of slavery in that section of country. The northern land peculators most cheerfully co-operate with the southern slave-holders in the grand scheme of aggression, with the hope of immense gain; and the slave merchants play into the hands of both, with the same heartless, avaricious feelings and views. The principal seat of operations for the first, is New York, though some active and regular agencies are established at New Orleans and Nashville, and minor agencies in other places. The second exercise their influence individually, without any particular organization: while the third cooperate with all, as opportunities present themselves. They have subsidized presses at command, ready to give extensive circulation to whatever they may wish to publish in furtherance of their views. And orators, legislators, and persons holding official stations under our Federal government are deeply interested in their operations, and frequently willing instruments to promote their cause. Such are the motives for action---such the combination of interests---such the organization, sources of influence, and foundation of authority, upon which the present Texas Insurrection rests. The resident colonists compose but a small fraction of the party concerned in it. The standard of revolt was raised as soon as it was clearly ascertained that slavery could not be perpetuated, nor the illegal speculations in land continued, under the government of the Mexican Republic. The Mexican authorities were charged with acts of oppression, while the true causes of the revolt-the motives and designs of the insurgents-were studiously concealed from the public view. Influential slave-holders are contributing money, equipping troops, and marching to the scene of conflict. The land speculators are fitting out expeditions from New York and New Orleans, with men, munitions of war, provisions, & c., to promote the object. The Independence of Texas is declared, and the system of slavery, as well as the slave trade, (with the United States) is fully recognized by the government they have set up. Commissioners are sent from the colonies, and agents are appointed here, to make I formal application, enlist the sympathy of our citizens, and solicit aid in every way that it can be furnished. The hireling presses are actively engaged in promoting the success of their efforts, by misrepresenting the character of the Mexicans, issuing inflammatory appeals, and urging forward the ignorant, the unsuspecting, the adventurous, and the unprincipled, to a participation in the struggle. [For the purpose of exciting the sympathy of the people of the United States, the marauders who are engaged in the Texas insurrection have represented the Mexicans as a blood-thirsty race; while they have themselves, by their piratical acts, excited the vengeance of a people with whom their own government is professedly at peace. Some instances of severe retribution have been visited upon them; but most, if not all, of the charges preferred against the Mexicans, as respects their faithlessness and cruelty, are sheer falsehoods. Much has been said about the execution of Fanin and his band of Georgia volunteers. By the laws of Mexico (which had been published in this country before they left home) they were considered precisely in the light of pirates. The laws of nations also present them in the same light, and they were treated accordingly. In a moral view, this was their true character, for their chief object was oppression and the plunder of a people who had never offended them. We have been told that terms of capitulation were granted them, by which their lives were to be spared. This the Mexican Generals have promptly and positively denied; and we have more reason to credit their assertions, than those of persons engaged in piratical enterprises. When the Convention (so called) was assembled at San Filipe to draft a State Constitution, David G. Burnet introduced the resolution condemning the Cuba slave trader, to which I have before adverted. Then, as.....]
In the course of my observations,. I have several times asserted that it was the intention of the insurrectionists to establish and perpetuate the system of slavery, by "Constitutional" provision. In proof of this, I now quote several paragraphs from the Constitution which they lately adopted. This extract is taken from that part under the head of "General Provisions," and embraces all that relates to slavery. We remember the proclamation of D. G. Burnet, the President of their assumed government, issued a few months since, setting forth that their Constitution prohibited the "slave trade." That "proclamation" was circulated for the purpose of deceiving the opponents of slavery in the United States, and inducing them to join in their marauding crusade. It will now be seen, that the measure was a device of the most hypocritical complexion. This extract will also be found to contain much that is fully confirmatory of what I have before stated, upon other topics connected with the general subject before us.
Sec. 6. All free white persons who shall emigrate to this republic, and who shall, after a residence of six months, make oath before some competent authority that he intends to reside permanently in the same, and shall swear to support this constitution, and that he will bear true allegiance to the republic of Texas, shall be entitled to all the privileges of citizenship.
Sec. 7. So soon as convenience will permit, there shall be a penal code formed on principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice; and the civil and criminal laws shall be revised, digested, and arranged under different heads; and all laws relating to land-titles shall be translated, revised, and promulgated.
Sec. 8. All persons who shall leave the country for the purpose of evading a participation in the present struggle, or shall refuse to participate in it, or shall give aid or assistance to the present enemy, shall forfeit all rights of citizenship, and such lands as they may hold in the republic.
Sec. 9. All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain in the like state of servitude: Provided, The said slave shall be the bona-fide property of the person so holding said slave as aforesaid. Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from bringing their slaves into the republic with them, and holding them by the same tenure by which such slaves were held in the United States; nor shall congress have power to emancipate slaves; nor shall any slaveholder be allowed to emancipate his or her slave or slaves without the consent of congress, unless he or she shall send his or her slave or slaves without the limits of the republic. No free person of African descent, either in whole or in part, shall be permitted to reside permanently in the republic without the consent of congress; and the importation or admission of Africans or negroes into this republic, excepting from the United States of America, is forever prohibited, and declared to be piracy.
Sec. 10. All persons (Africans, the descendants of Africans, and Indians excepted) who were residing in Texas on the day of the declaration of independence shall be considered citizens of the republic and entitled to all the privileges of such. All citizens now living in Texas who have not received their portion of land in like manner as colonists shall be entitled to their land in the following proportion and manner: Every head of a family shall be entitled to one league and labor of land; and every single man of the age of seventeen and upwards shall be entitled to the third part of one league of land. All citizens who may have, previously to the adoption of this constitution, received their league of land as heads of families, and their quarter of a league as single persons, shall receive such additional quantity as will make the quantity of land received by them equal to one league and labor, and one-third of a league, unless by bargain, sale, or exchange they have transferred, or may henceforth transfer, their right to said land, or a portion thereof, to some other citizen of the republic; and in such case, the person to whom such right shall have been transferred shall be entitled to the same as fully and amply as the persons asking the transfer might or could have been. No alien shall hold land in Texas except by titles emanating directly from the government of this republic. But if any citizen of this republic should die intestate or otherwise his children or heirs shall inherit his estate, and aliens shall have a reasonable time to take possession of and dispose of the same, in a manner hereafter to be pointed out by law. Orphan children whose parents were entitled to land under the colonization laws of Mexico and who now reside in the republic shall be entitled to all the rights of which their parents were possessed at the time of their death. The citizens of the republic shall not be compelled to reside on the land, but shall have their lines plainly marked.
All orders of survey legally obtained by any citizen of the republic from any legally-authorized commissioner, prior to the act of the late consultation closing the land-offices, shall be valid. In all cases, the actual settler and occupant of the soil shall be entitled, in locating his land, to include his improvement, in preference to all other claims not acquired previous to his settlement, according to the law of the land and this constitution: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall prejudice the rights of any other citizen from whom a settler may hold land by rent or lease. And whereas the protection of the public domain from unjust and fraudulent claims and quieting the people in the enjoyment of their lands is one of the great duties of this convention; and whereas the legislature of Coahuila and Texas having passed an act in the year 1834 in behalf of General John T. Mason, of New York, and another on the 14th day of March, 1835, under which the enormous amount of eleven hundred leagues of land has been claimed by sundry individuals, some of whom reside in foreign countries, and are not citizens of the republic--which said acts are contrary to articles fourth, twelfth, and fifteenth of the laws of 1824 of the general congress of Mexico, and one of said acts for that cause has by said general congress of Mexico been declared null and void--it is hereby declared that the said act of 1834, in favor of John T. Mason, and of the 14th of March, 1835, of the said legislature of Coahuila and Texas, and each and every grant founded thereon, is and was from the very beginning null and void; and all surveys made under pretence of authority derived from said acts are hereby declared to be null and void; and all eleven-league claims, located within twenty leagues of the boundary-line between Texas and the United States of America which may have been located contrary to the laws of Mexico, are hereby declared to be bull and void. And whereas many surveys and titles to lands have been made whilst most of the people of Texas were absent from home, serving in the campaign against Bexar, it is hereby declared that all the surveys and locations of land made since the act of the late consultation closing the land-offices, and all titles to land made since that time, are and shall be null and void.
The adoption of a Constitution with such provisions as are here quoted, may be termed the crowning act-the finishing stroke of this monstrous scheme of oppression, so far as the expressed will of those concerned in it can be manifested by conventional regulation. When we look back to the commencement of their operations, and trace their movements step by step, bearing in mind their open declarations upon various occasions, what man of reason and common sense can, for one moment, doubt that the re-establishment of Slavery has been their principal object, their settled determination, from the beginning? I think it will be admitted, by every person of penetration, reflection, and unbiased judgment, that the evidence I have produced is conclusive on this point. I might state many more facts and---circumstances, which have come to my knowledge during along and intimate acquaintance with their proceedings, all tending to the same conclusion. My intercourse with many of the actors in the great drama, has given me numerous opportunities to understand their motives and their designs. It is indeed impossible that I should be mistaken in the one or the other. And as unfolding events coincide fully with my assertions, and with the proofs already adduced to sustain them, it might be considered unnecessary to dwell longer upon this particular topic. Yet, in order that the reader may lack no important information, that will show the decided stand which the Mexican government has taken against the toleration of slavery, will quote a few more official documents, (to some of which I have heretofore alluded) in verification of what I have asserted, and already perhaps sufficiently proved.
The following decrees and ordinances are translated from an official compilation, published by authority of the Mexican Government, embracing all the public acts of said government from the period of its organization to the year 1830.
DECREE OF JULY 13, 1824.
Prohibition of the Commerce and Traffic in Slaves
The Sovereign General Constituent Congress of the United Mexican States has held it right to decree the following:
1. The Commerce and Traffic in Slaves, proceeding from whatever power, and under whatever flag, is for ever prohibited, within the territories of the United Mexican States.
2. The Slaves, who may be introduced contrary to the tenor of the preceding article, shall remain free in consequence of treading the Mexican soil.
3. Every vessel, whether National or Foreign, in which Slaves may be transported and introduced into the Mexican territories, shall be confiscated with the rest of its cargo and the Owner, Purchaser, Captain, Master, and Pilot, shall suffer the punishment of ten years confinement.
4. This law will take effect from the date of its publication; however, as to the punishments prescribed in the preceding article, they shall not take effect till six months after, towards the Planters who, in virtue of the law of the 14th October last, relating to the Colonization of the Isthmus of Guazacoulco, and may disembark Slaves for the purpose of introducing them into the Mexican territory. (See the 21st Article of the Decree of October 11, 1823.)
[Here Lundy prints articles 1-6 of the National Colonization Laws of 18 Dec 1824 and the note and article 21 of the Law of 14 Oct 1823 below--WLM]
Note: In an order of the 11th of April  notice is given to Government that if it find no inconvenience, it may yield to the solicitation of Stephen F. Austin, in confirming to him the Grant for settling Three Hundred Families in Texas, and it can moreover, decide upon other applications of a similar nature, and cause to be suspended till further determination, the law of Colonization enacted by the Junta Instituyente.
Extract from the Law of 14th October, 1823. Article 21. Foreigners who bring slaves with them, shall obey the Laws established upon the matter, or shall hereafter be established.
DECREE OF PRESIDENT GUERRERO.
Abolition of Slavery. The President of the United Mexican States, to the inhabitants of the Republic. Be it known; That in the year 1829, being desirous of signalizing the anniversary of our Independence by an Act of national Justice and Beneficence, which may contribute to the strength and support of such inestimable welfare, as to secure more and more the public tranquillity, and reinstate an unfortunate portion of'our inhabitants in the sacred rights granted them by Nature, and may be protected by the Nation under wise and just Laws, according to the Provision in Aricle 30 of the Constitutive Act; availing myself of the extraordinary faculties granted me, I have thought proper to Decree :
1. That slavery be exterminated in the Republic.
2. Consequently those are free, who, up to this day, have been looked upon as slaves.
3. Whenever the circumstances of the Public Treasury will allow it, the owners of slaves shall be indemnified, in the manner which the Laws shall provide. Mexico 15 Sept. 1629, A. D. JOSE MARIA de BOCANEGRA.
[Here Lundy reprints articles 9-11 of the Bustamente Decree of 6 Apr 1830, prohibiting the migration of citizens of the United States to Texas--WLM]
I have said that the present contest in Texas has assumed a character which must seriously affect both the interests and the honor of this nation; and that the policy and measures of the government are deeply involved in it. I do not say that the government has officially committed itself upon the question. This has been most studiously avoided, while it has been completely under the influence of the---Combination" engaged in the outrageous "crusade," and has given efficient aid by a tacit acquiescence therein, as far as it could possibly be done consistently with the preservation of even the shadow of "neutrality."
When a Mexican national vessel was alien into New Orleans, by the piratical expedition from that place, a mere mockery was instituted against those violators of our treaty with Mexico and the law of nations. Armed bands have been permitted to proceed from different parts of the United States openly and avowedly, to join in the contest, without the least degree of molestation; and even when complaints have been officially made by accredited Mexican agents, nothing has been done to arrest them except the formal transmission of orders to the District Attorneys, to which they paid not the slightest attention. In addition to this positive neglect or refusal to enforce the neutral obligations of the nation, a claim has been set up (a claim the most preposterous that can be imagined) to a large extent of Mexican territory, with the view of placing an armed force in the vicinity of the combatants to over-awe the Mexican troops and afford opportunities to aid the insurgents. [One of the deep laid plans of the combination was, to send their "volunteers" to the frontier, through the agency and at the expense of the government]
A false construction has also has been given to a clause in the treaty between the two governments, in relation to the restriction of the Indian tribes within their respective limits, by virtue of which a large force has been ordered to the frontiers under the pretence of enforcing the provisions of said treaty. It is well understood that these troops, collected from among the advocates of slavery in the south-western States, will not remain inactive, "neutral" spectators, when the crisis arrives in which their participation in the contest may be desirable to the instigators of the war. I do not stand alone in the view which is here taken of the subject. By a reference to the speech of John Quincy Adams, from which I have heretofore made some extracts, it will be seen that similar ideas are expressed by him; and it may be added, that many of the most intelligent men among us are fully convinced of their general correctness.
The following, is the Article in the Treaty, under the authority of which our Government has instructed Gen. Gaines to cross the boundary line. Who can perceive the warrant that it is supposed to give either party, to go beyond the limits of its own territory with an armed force?---And further,---what authority does it give either, to prevent the Indians from joining the one or the other as friendly allies?
ART. 33. It is likewise agreed that the two contracting parties shall, by all the means in their power, maintain peace and harmony among the several Indian nations who inhabit the lands adjacent to the lines and rivers which form the boundaries of the two countries; and the better to attain this object, both parties bind themselves expressly to restrain, by force, all hostilities and incursions on the part of the Indian nations being within their respective boundaries: so that the United States of America will not suffer their Indians to attack the Citizens of the United Mexican States, nor the Indians inhabiting their territory; nor will the United Mexican States permit the Indians residing within their territories to commit hostilities against the citizens of the United States of America, nor against the Indians residing within the limits of the United States, in any manner whatever. And in the event of any person or persons captured by the Indians who inhabit the territory of either of the contracting parties, being or having been carried into the territories of the other, both Governments engage and bind themselves in the most solemn manner to return them to their country, as soon as they know of their being within their respective territories, or to deliver them up to the agent or representative of the Government that claims them giving to each other, reciprocally, timely notice, and the claimant repaying the expenses incurred in the transmission and maintenance of such person or persons, who, in the meantime, shall be treated with the utmost hospitality by the local authorities of the place where they may be.nor shall it be lawful, under any pretext whatever, for the citizens of either of the contracting parties to purchase or hold captive prisoners made by the Indians inhabiting the territories of the other."
Under the erroneous construction of the treaty, aforesaid, Gen. Gaines was authorized to cross the boundary line with his army; to march seventy miles into the Mexican territory; and to occupy the military post of Nacogdoches in case he should judge it expedient in order to guard against Indian depredations! -And further; he was likewise authorized to call upon the Governors of several of the south-western States for an additional number of troops, should he consider it necessary. In order to furnish an excuse for the exercise of the authority thus delegated to him, many false rumors of Indian depredations and hostile movements were reported to the Commander of the United States forces, and he did not neglect the occasion for pushing to the very extent of his conditional instructions. (His proceedings in this case are of so recent date, that they must be familiar to every intelligent reader, and need not be here specified.)---He even went so far, that the Executive became alarmed, lest the "neutrality" of our Government should be violated!!---and his requisitions upon the governors of Tennessee and Kentucky were countermanded. Yet he is still permitted to keep an imposing force stationed in the Mexican territory; and it is understood that he is in regular correspondence with the chiefs of the insurgent armies; also that his men are "deserting" and joining them in great numbers. [In stating these facts, it may be well to accompany them with the Proof and here it is.---How well the plan is devised !---How completely the system works!---What undeniable evidence, too, of a strict "neutrality" on our part? From the Pensacola Gazette. About the middle of last month, General Gaines sent an officer of the United States army into Texas to reclaim some deserters. He found them already enlisted in the Texian service to the number of two hundred. They still wore the uniform of our army, but refused, of course, to return. The commander of the Texian forces was applied to, to enforce their return; but his only reply was, that the soldiers might go, but he had no authority to send them back. This is a new view of our Texian relations]
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